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Andrew Pollock

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Sunday, 30 April 2006

On non-free RFC documents

So a release-critical bug was filed against dhcp3, of which I am the only active maintainer at present.

I dutifully stripped the RFCs and IETF draft documents from dhcp3-common, and made an upload, however the bug was reopened. Seems I should have read this.

So it looks like I need to strip them out of the source tarball as well. Goody.

I'm no fan of debian-legal, and I don't personally subscribe to the non-freeness of RFCs, using my personal DFSG-o-meter, but #199810 makes for an interesting read. It's motivated me beyond raising my middle finger to debian-legal to actually bothering to repack the tarball sans the RFCs, but it's going to be a bit of PITA to do that for every new release.

I mailed the dhcp-workers mailing list to ask the upstream maintainer what he thought about removing the RFCs from the source tarball. So far he hasn't replied yet, but I have had one interesting reply:

In general, I applaud the DFSG. But in this case, I think Debian is being unreasonable. While the RFC licenses do not permit creation of derivative works, they may be copied verbatim. It's marginally useful to users of the code to have the RFCs handy, and it's probably quite helpful for people trying to find and fix bugs.

I'm in favor of being careful about licenses. I've asked people on my project at work not to use the Sun JDK (but did not ask them not to write in Java) because Sun's implementation is non-Free, and therefore non-portable. But objecting to RFCs really seems to be going overboard. If the RFC were used to build the program, I could see the point of needing to have the software freedom to modify it. But it's merely bundled.

So I would suggest that Debian reconsider their position, and apply DFSG to software, and adopt Debian Free Documentation Guidelines for docs, and Debian Free Standards Guidelines for standards. DFStG should allow the ISOC copyright license - the purpose of allowing standards is to have them easily available as a reference.

[18:37] [debian] [permalink]

The Pollocks: 4 Bicycle rack: 3

On Friday night at a dinner of random Googlers, we met Robin, who recently relocated from Boston (and incidentally knows Martin). Turns out, she's into outdoorsy stuff, so we went cycling together today.

Just getting to Robin's place with the bikes was a bit of a challenge. It's been a while since we've used our bike rack, and it put up a bit of a fight going onto the car. Then we got to Robin's place, and discovered that whilst a Saris Bones 3 may technically be rated to carry three bikes, it isn't always the case, so we ended up taking two cars in anyway. We also discovered that you really don't want to try to open the boot with bikes on the rack. The bike rack eventually gave in, and we got on our way.

We drove into the hills near Saratoga and cycled along Skyline Boulevard, which was really nice and scenic. It was a beautiful day for it. Skyline Boulevard was pretty hilly, but the downhills were excellent.

Sarah and Robin had their road bikes, but I've only got my mountain bike, so it was tougher going for me, but I still enjoyed it. I desperately need exercise, and I sure got some today. We stopped for lunch in Saratoga on the way back, which looks like a nice looking place to go back and explore another time.

[16:44] [life] [permalink]